Thu, Sep 13, 2007 - Page 4 News List

NCC unveils details of its proposed new media law

MEDIA OVERHAUL The proposed draft law would ban discrimination and allow overseas investors to acquire shareholdings in television broadcasters for the first time

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday that its newly drafted telecommunication and communications law would ban media coverage of any comments that discriminate by ethnicity or by gender.

The draft law still needs the approval of both the Executive Yuan and the Legislative Yuan.

The law also requires media organizations to establish a mechanism whereby independent advisors review the content of news programs and evaluate whether professional journalistic practices have been adhered to.

Associations comprised of media organizations will also be required to put in place regulations requiring their members to exercise "self-discipline."

NCC spokesperson Howard Shyr (石世豪) said yesterday that the main purpose of the law was to decrease direct governmental control over media content and strengthen the functions of media organizations' internal regulations.

Shyr said the commission remained the legal supervisor of the news media, and it would in future monitor the news media through an independent panel entrusted by the commission to review reported cases.

Shyr said that political rallies and conflicts should be reported, but the coverage should not be sensationalized and news reporters should follow professional journalistic practices.

"A large amount of news is often turned into something else after being edited," he said. "Too often irrelevant and often unnecessary headlines are added to the news that convey more than just the facts."

Shyr said the US and European countries have had similar regulations in place for years, adding that both discrimination by gender or ethnicity are deemed beyond the realm of freedom of speech.

The proposed law also plans to allow overseas investors to acquire stakes in local television broadcasters for the first time.

The commission has proposed two separate solutions for the Executive Yuan to review.

The first would allow overseas investors to own up to 20 percent of a broadcaster and up to 60 percent of a cable or satellite service provider. The second sets no limit on overseas investment in cable and satellite service providers.

Currently the limit for overseas investors' stakes in service providers is set at 60 percent.

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